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Trump Ekes Out a Small Win Against Extension to Cure Pennsylvania Ballots

Nixing uncounted mail-in ballots from voters who never followed up with proof of ID, a Pennsylvania judge handed the Trump campaign a small win Thursday in its litany of postelection challenges.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CN) — Nixing uncounted mail-in ballots from voters who never followed up with proof of ID, a Pennsylvania judge handed the Trump campaign a small win Thursday in its litany of postelection challenges.

Pennsylvania had not included any of these challenged ballots in its tally, which as of Thursday afternoon shows President-elect Joe Biden leading the Republican incumbent by roughly 54,000 votes.

Just how many ballots this order will exclude, however, is uncertain. Philadelphia County reported at least 2,100 that were missing information Wednesday.

While Pennsylvania election law only requires first-time voters to show their IDs at the polls, those who applied to vote by mail were also required to provide ID information, by the very latest, on Nov. 6, three days after Election Day. 

After the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day would be counted as long as they arrived on Nov. 6, Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar extended the ID deadline to Nov. 9.

But Thursday’s ruling from President Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt at the Commonwealth Court says Boockvar “lacked statutory authority” to extend this deadline and that the call was the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s to make.

Neither Trump’s lawyer Ronald Hicks of Porter Wright nor Pennsylvania’s attorneys immediately returned requests for comment on this 2-page order.

Leavitt is a Republican, and her position on the court is an elected one. Boockvar was appointed to her position by the commonwealth’s Democratic Governor Tom Wolf.

The Trump campaign has several other election-related lawsuits underway in Pennsylvania, including one in that accuses the state of keeping election observers too far from the ballot-counting process in Philadelphia. On Monday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed to hear that claim. 

The campaign filed a federal suit in Harrisburg that same day with the goal of stopping the state from certifying its election results.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro assured his Twitter followers Thursday that the campaign has nothing to back up its claims of an “illegal ‘two-tiered’ voting system” where voters are held to different standards depending on whether they voted by mail or in person.

“This lawsuit from the Trump campaign is meritless,” Shapiro said. “Our commonwealth’s laws will be upheld.”

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